With Daytona right around the corner, here are 7 things to keep an eye on in 2017!
1. Monster Energy: After 13 years with Sprint as the entitlement sponsor of NASCAR’s top series, it was announced in early December that Monster Energy would replace Sprint. Monster Energy is sure to be an exciting sponsor for NASCAR. The energy drink brand also has/had sponsorship's with other motorsports sanctioning bodies. This could certainly attract younger fans to the sport.
2. Stewart Haas Racing: Early in 2016 the team made the announcement that they would switch to Ford Performance after a long run with Chevrolet. Other Ford teams are Team Penske, Roush Fenway Racing and Wood Brothers Racing to name a few. This could make for some great racing in 2017 from Kevin Harvick, Danica Patrick, Kurt Busch and Clint Bowyer.
3. New Format: The new format, consisting of 3 stages is sure to make the racing more aggressive and make it interesting to see the different strategies. Many drivers were stoked when the new format came out. Every lap will be important and mistakes made on pit road could be very costly. Who's ready to see it go into action at Daytona?
4. Erik Jones: Moving up to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Erik will compete full time for the 2017 season. The 2015 Camping World Truck Series champion made 3 starts in the Cup Series last year driving for Joe Gibbs Racing. Erik will pilot the number 77 Toyota for Furniture Row Racing with sponsorship from 5-hour Energy. Could this young gun pull off a good season?
5. Daniel Suarez: After the abrupt news broke that Carl Edwards would not be returning for the 2017 season, it was said that reigning Xfinity Series champion Daniel Suarez would replace Edwards in the number 19. Although he has a lot to learn, it will be exciting to watch him progress throughout the season!
6. Dale Jr: After missing the last part of the 2016 season, Dale will return to racing in Daytona. Could this be the comeback of a lifetime? We’ll have to wait and see!
7. Jimmie Johnson: Coming off his SEVENTH championship, tied with Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt, could definitely be one to keep up with this season. Jimmie will be looking to earn his eighth premier series title this year! Does he have what it takes? We’ll have to wait and see!